Google has expanded options for keeping personal information private from online searches.
The company said on Friday it would let people request that more types of content such as personal contact information such as phone numbers, emails and physical addresses be removed from search results.
The new policy also allows for the deletion of other information that may pose a risk of identity theft, such as confidential login credentials.
The company said in a statement that free access to information is vital, “but so is giving people the tools they need to protect themselves and keep their sensitive and personally identifiable information private.”
“Privacy and online security go hand in hand. And when you use the internet, it’s important to control how your sensitive and personally identifiable information can be found,” he said.
What has Google ever allowed users to remove from search results?
Previously, Google Search allowed users to request removal of highly personal content that could cause direct harm. This includes information removed due to “doxxing” – discovering and publicly exposing someone’s personal information with the intent of causing harm – and personal information such as bank account or credit card numbers that could be used for fraudulent purposes.
But information is increasingly appearing in unexpected places and being used in new ways, so policies must evolve, the company said.
Why does Google Search allow users to delete results?
Having personal contact information freely available online can pose a threat, and Google said it has also received requests for the ability to remove this content.
The company said that when it receives such requests, it will review all content on the webpage to avoid limiting the availability of useful information or content in government public records or other official websites.
“It’s important to remember that removing content from Google search won’t remove it from the internet, so you can contact the hosting site directly, if you’re comfortable doing so,” did he declare.
How do I request removal of my phone number, email address, or other information from Google Search?
Google has created a dedicated webpage and form that allows users to make removal requests.
First, go to this page and make sure “Delete the information you see in Google Search” is selected next to “What do you want to do?” Then choose where the information should go, either in Google search results and live on a website, or just in search results.
If you’re only selecting search results, which means content has already been removed from a website, the page description or cache could simply be out of date, Google says. This path will only require a few clicks and then entering the outdated URL for Google to remove it, the company says.
For information that is still online on a website, Google recommends first contacting the owner of the site to have it completely removed from the internet, as blocking it from Google may still allow it to appear elsewhere on the internet. . The company provides information and guidance for contacting a webmaster to request a site change.
Google also allows options to continue if you have already contacted a webmaster or prefer not to. Choose which of these options applies, then select what you’re trying to delete – for an email or phone number, it would be “Personal information, such as ID numbers and private documents” – then do a more specific selection from the next list that appears.
Finally, Google provides a form to enter information about what is being requested to be removed and why.
Once a request is submitted, you should receive an automated email with a confirmation of the request.
Google notes that it will not automatically remove the results, saying there would have to be an explicit or implicit threat of abuse for the request to be considered. The company on the form notes that it has “no legal obligation to act on this request.”
Google’s parent company, Alphabet, said it would block ad targeting based on the age, gender or interests of people under 18.